School admission disappointment?

Local Authorities across the country confirmed their primary school places this week.

For some parents there was great disappointment as their child missed out on a place at their preferred school.

If you are in this situation, there is an appeal procedure. Should you need any assistance with a school appeal, please get in touch.

Men saving more into pensions than women

According to new research men have almost three times the pension savings of women and are more likely to review their pension arrangements, but women are starting to save more year on year.

Pensions are usually one of the key areas that need to be considered if a married couple separate.  They can provide useful options to help with structuring their financial settlement.  

In my experience it is important to start looking at what might be possible early.  If pensions are likely to be shared, then this can impact on how much my client should pay into their pension scheme during the separation process.  

Another top tip is for anyone thinking about separating to protect their position by taking legal advice before making any significant contributions into a pension scheme .

Men have almost three times the pension savings of women, with the average male pension pot reaching £73,600 compared with the female average of £24,900, according to new research.
An amicable celebrity divorce?

I'm hoping the reports suggesting Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are divorcing amicably are true. In recent years some celebrities haven't been acting as the best role models for divorcing couples.

The Hollywood stars, who have remained on great terms since their split, are alleged to have not started to think about dividing their assets until now as they were attempting to make things work. 
Domestic Violence, Separation and Divorce

A Freedom of Information request has revealed that the number of victims of domestic violence withdrawing their support for criminal charges against their abusers jumped by around 40% to more than 160,000 during 2016. Campaigners have blamed a crisis in support for domestic violence victims resulting from government cuts. 

These figures have emerged in the same week that domestic violence has been in the news because of revelations that the late poet Sylvia Plath told her therapist that she had been attacked by her husband, fellow poet Ted Hughes, just two days before suffering a miscarriage. 

Research has shown that victims of domestic violence are at heightened risk during the first year after separation from a violent partner. It is often possible to obtain injunctions to protect against violent and abusive behaviour, and we are experienced at dealing with these issues carefully and sensitively.  

Unseen Sylvia Plath letters claim domestic abuse by Ted Hughes
Child Maintenance and paternity

This article highlights some of the difficulties that can occur when dealing with the Child Maintenance Service.  

The situation would be treated differently within divorce proceedings, as maintenance for a spouse can be ordered independently of maintenance for a biological child (or child of the family).

If you have any queries about Child Maintenance, how this is calculated or issues relating to DNA testing please do not hesitate to contact me.

A DWP spokesperson said:“When we make contact with someone to ask them to pay child maintenance they need to inform us within 30 days if they believe that it is not a valid claim.

“If further information regarding the paternity of a child comes to light once payments have been made directly to the resident parent, they can pursue a reimbursement from them in the small claims court.”
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High Court decide life support can be withdrawn

This has been a well published case involving a very poorly little baby. These cases are always very emotional ones and need very careful handling. If you or your family know anyone who needs legal advice on a similar issue please contact the team on 0845 128 6960.

Charlie Gard case: Doctors can withdraw baby's life support
Parents' rows 'are worse for children than divorce'

Youngsters are 30% more likely to have behavioural problems after witnessing arguments at home      

Children are damaged by the fighting that goes on during marriage rather than the split itself.The study, which looks at ‘non-cognitive’ skills such as interaction with peers, contradicts ‘conventional wisdom’ that divorce is bad for children.
Fruit farmer appeals for Brexit discount on divorce payout

A fruit farmer who claims his fortune may have been hit hard by Brexit is fighting his ex-wife over her £12.2 million divorce payout.

Paul Mansfield, 56, from Kent, was ordered to hand over the cash to his former wife of 26 years, Jane, from a fortune worth about £30 million. He also said it was wrong that his ex-wife should benefit from the part of his family fortune that came from his father .
Ryan Giggs to argue 'special contribution' in divorce fight

This is  a high evidential hurdle .After a long marriage there is often bewilderment at this argument particularly where  there is so much available wealth to share and meet need 

Former Manchester United and Wales footballer Ryan Giggs will argue he made a "special contribution" to the creation of wealth during his marriage, a divorce court judge has been told.
Judges reject US banker's claim to be a genius in divorce case

Court of appeal upholds ruling

Randy Work, 49, a former executive at Texas-based private equity firm Lone Star, had claimed that his wife of 20 years, Mandy Gray, was entitled to only £5m because she had “unfortunately” failed to stick to the terms of their prenuptial agreement and had had an affair with the couple’s personal physiotherapist
Recording children in Children Act disputes

In recent years I have seen an increase in parents recording (audio and video) their children/the other parent, whilst in litigation about the arrangements for the children. 

Applications about where the children will live and how much time they will spend with both parent are often the most emotionally difficult for clients.  During this stressful time many parents feel the need to gather evidence against the other parent, or evidence that they believe supports their proposals for the children.  Historically this has involved statements with photographs of the children enjoying time with the parent, and copy school reports showing how well the child is doing (or not) with the arrangements in place.  In some cases experts are reported to advise on the child's welfare and wishes and feelings.

Modern technology and in particularly the use of smart phones, has made audio and video recording of children (often without their knowledge) possible, as well as recording handovers and altercations between parents. 

In my experience the courts can frown on the collation of this kind of evidence and can view such actions as potentially harmful to the children. There are normally better ways to obtain evidence if there are concerns about the child or the other parent.

In an effort to gather evidence against their ex-partners parents are using mobile phones and tablets to record their children.
But lawyers have warned that the tactic can backfire, with recorded interrogation leaving children "exceptionally distressed"or causing the parent to lose their case.
Government urged to protect IVF funding

A London borough has asked the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to intervene and review a decision by its local NHS clinical commissioning group (CCG) to withdraw funding for fertility treatment. 

CCGs across the country have been reducing the level of IVF provision they are prepared to fund for some time in response to pressure on their budgets. Some, such as Croydon, have eliminated public funding for IVF altogether, save in exceptional circumstances. This is in breach of international standards and guidelines and has left campaigners outraged. 

It remains to be seen how the government will respond.

Government urged to help 'reinstate free IVF' in Croydon
Cohabitation Bill passes second reading in Malta - 3 forms of cohabitation envisioned

This Bill makes a lot of sense and maybe we should consider doing similar in the UK.

A recent study shows that 75% of couples living together believe they have the same rights as married couples - or did not know their rights and/or entitlements if the relationship breaks down.

This can be a very complicated area of law. If you would like advice about what would happen to you and/or your children if you decide to end your relationship and you aren't married to your partner please do call us on 0845 128 6960 because we can help.

Introducing the Bill yesterday, Dr Dalli said it was a long overdue step towards building a society that respected all individuals and the choices that they make.
Modern Marriage

A thoughtful piece on the future of marriage and divorce from the novelist Jeanette Winterson. 

Jeanette Winterson: we need to be more imaginative about modern marriage
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